New Menu: Food Foundry, Petaling Jaya

September 26, 2019

For a dozen years now, Food Foundry has endured as a reassuring presence in Section 17, first introducing Malaysians to mille crepes, then ushering in a new generation of restaurants and cafes in the Happy Mansion apartment enclave. This past month, it made its most significant leap forward in its menu, revitalised with unmistakably Italian inspirations, peppered with everything from risotto to rigatoni, packed with fresh, conscientiously sourced produce that a skilled kitchen can take pride in.

The time-honoured triumvirate of cheese, tomatoes and herbs comes recommended if this is your first visit here in recent times, especially since Food Foundry makes its own ricotta (similar to its sister restaurant, Damansara Heights' Sitka), a cheese of versatile character, its delicate depth buoyed by sumptuously nectarous tomatoes that represent the best of Cameron Highlands, rounded out by pesto's exhilarating uplift over polenta with a crisp bite and creamy chew - a buoyantly balanced, richly reinvigorating starter, snack or salad that's equally at home in the Mediterranean or Malaysia (RM20).

If you enjoy robust citrus dynamics on your dish, the broccoli salad also merits mention, enlivened with a punchy zest that permeates each chopped spear and crown, scattered with almonds for earthy crunch (RM26); other vegetarian-friendly options include a kale salad with apple and kitchen-baked breadcrumbs, for those times when you need a genuinely guilt-free meal.

There's sufficient diversity on the new menu to sustain customers throughout the day - broken eggs, runny and achingly tender, come heaped in a princely platter with twice-cooked fries (exponentially more enjoyable than most, completely conveying that inimitable real-potatoes substance), bulked up with a choice of bresaola or meatballs for can't-fail, carbs-with-protein comfort fare (RM32). 

Food Foundry also makes its own mark on open sandwiches, relying on rustically textured focaccia for a firm, flavoursome foundation, blanketed with combinations like tuna mayonnaise with olives and sun-dried tomatoes, a warm-summer treat that brings together the briny bounty of the sea with the heady harvest of the land (RM26; other possible choices include lamb sausage with scrambled eggs and confit peppers; sauteed tiger prawns with chilli and garlic; or garlic mushroom fricassee with fried egg and almonds).

Passionate about fresh pasta? Food Foundry now promises everything from tagliatelle with lamb ragu to spaghetti with heirloom tomatoes and basil, but we had our mind set on the mafalda, that ribbon-cut, wavy-edged flat pasta, perfectly partnered with an egg yolk, sage brown butter and hazelnuts (RM34), a tribute to the seemingly simple but soulfully satisfying traditions of pastas that have nurtured generations of Italians from the trattorias of Bologna to the home kitchens of Bari.

Main courses run the gamut of grills, from Angus flank steaks to sardines, but since it's not often we see saltimbocca in PJ, Food Foundry's sage-scented interpretation might sound tempting, swapping veal for chicken breast, prosciutto for bresaola, the perfect pick for meat-craving occasions, made omnivorous with French beans, capers and cherry tomatoes (RM36).

We initially resisted ordering the seabass, but that would have been a mistake - Food Foundry's is a revelation, a far cry from the frozen-fish, bland-and-lifeless versions that dominate KL whenever seabass is on the menu; this is yieldingly moist and meaty, supple in supplying a fresh-catch flavour, perked up further with an olive oil aioli, braised leek and burnt lemon, justifying consideration at any respected restaurant in the Klang Valley (RM36).

It's been awhile since we last had Food Foundry's mille crepe, but the fresh-baked custard recipe remains unchanged - all that layered, lovable lusciousness, embedded in a hand-crafted cake that has stood the test of time (if you were a school-going 12 when you first tried this here in 2007, you'd be a work-worthy 24 now).

Here's to the next decade for Food Foundry; many thanks to the team here for having us.

Food Foundry

BG-8, Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Daily, 10am-10pm. Tel: 03-7932-2322

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